Both the bypolls later this month are crucial for the ruling BJP as well as opposition parties as they may set the tone for the 2019 parliamentary elections.
Opposition parties, especially the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Congress, are perceiving this as another opportunity to send a signal to the voters that the saffron fortress had been breached.
RLD has fielded Tabassum Begam, who is likely to emerge as a joint candidate of the opposition, to take on the BJP in Kairana. A former BSP MP from Kairana, Begum (47), who later joined the SP, is a popular face in the Jat-dominated constituency, around 100 kilometers from New Delhi.
Drumming up support for the BJP in Kairana, UP minister Suresh Rana today claimed that people in Kairana are experiencing an "atmosphere of peace" thanks to the improvement in the law and order situation after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assumed office.Also Read: UP encounters killings: 50 down and still counting...
"The biggest problem, which areas like Kairana and Noorpur witnessed in the last 15 years, was law and order. Girls had stopped going to the schools. Everyday instances of molestation, rape, extortion and other crimes were reported. And owing to these, there was an exodus of people in large number from Kairana," Rana told PTI.
The main reason for the exodus was the patronage provided by the then government to the criminal elements, he claimed.
"However, I would like to congratulate the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, which, in a span of 13 months was able to provide an atmosphere of peace to Kairana which was facing exodus due to the activities of criminals," Rana said.
The minister said that some families which had fled Kairana had come back and some, which had businesses in the area have expressed a desire to return.
Citing an example, the UP minister claimed that today even at 2 AM people can roam around freely without having the slightest worry of being attacked by any criminal.Also Read: SC refuses CBI inquiry in Kathua rape case, JK CM welcomes
"It was indeed a very happy moment for me, when I saw a video of a Muslim man who said the atmosphere in Kairana now is such that even if a person walks with a bundle currency notes, no one is going to touch it," he said.
The 47-year-old BJP minister, who represents Thana Bhawan constituency in UP Legislative Assembly, said Kairana was a predominantly agricultural area and the purchase of wheat and paddy and the assurance of the state government that sugar mills will continue to operate had generated confidence among the people.
Hitting out at the rival political parties, Rana said, "They want to counter the development saga of the BJP with their caste arithmetic and politics, which they had been doing for the past many years. And, in the last 13 months, development is visible on the ground."
Asked about the Gorakhpur and Phoolpur debacles, the minister said, "I belong to Thana Bhawan (under Kairana Lok Sabha seat) in Shamli district. The biggest priority for the people there was proper law and order, which was earlier missing".
In the last 13 months, they have experienced an atmosphere of peace, he said adding the biggest poll issue this time will be the improvement in law and order.
"And it is because of this, the alliance of communities and caste equations of SP and BSP have been broken," he said.
Asked whether the party was complacent during parliamentary bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phoolpur, Rana said, "The organisation was not at all lethargic or complacent. There was a feeling that we will win easily, and hence there was a feeling of extra positivity. But after the results of Gorakhpur and Phoolpur, we have taken this as a challenge."
The biggest thing is that in the UP Investors Summit (held in Lucknow), an investment of around Rs 300 crore was promised in Kandela industrial area, located almost six kilometres from Kairana, he said.
The Kairana Lok Sabha seat fell vacant due to the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh in February, while the bye-poll to the Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated due to the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident the same month.
Voting in the bypolls for Kairana and Noorpur seats will be held on May 28. The counting of votes for both the constituencies will take place on May 31.